An Australian restaurant made the news last month after its owner decided to ban children under seven. One particularly nasty interaction with a parent forced the owner to reconsider allowing families with small children to dine in his establishment. Business has been booming ever since.
Last month, when a couple was unable to console their crying two-year-old, Liam Flynn – owner of Flynn’s Restaurant – told them to take the child outside. The couple was pissed. They wrote about the experience in a Trip Advisor review:
According to Flynn, he tried to explain to the father that their child was annoying other customers who paid for a relaxing dining experience. At that point the disgruntled mother yelled, “If you think that’s screaming, you haven’t heard anything, and you can get f—-d” in front of other customers.
Flynn claims that confronting parents of loud children is something that he’s had to do way too often for his liking, and that they don’t respond well when it happens. He told the Cairns Post, “We realise that when we do say something to people, they are hypersensitive to the fact that they’re being told off for their parenting, basically. That’s how they view it when you say something to them.”
So he made a business decision that he would no longer allow small children in the restaurant. It’s paid off. He told News.com.au, “Local people are voting with their feet. The support’s been overwhelming. We have a lot of people who usually come in a couple times a year who have come in the show their support (for the rule).” The manager of the restaurant posted about the rule to the restaurant’s Facebook page:
You know who probably supports this rule the most? Parents. When the crying-children-in-restaurants debate surfaces, people tend to think it is a parent vs. non-parents issue. It’s not. On the rare occasions that I get to leave my house without my children, I certainly don’t want to hear someone else’s – sorry. Actually, that should say sorry-not-sorry. Because I’m not sorry. If I need some time away from the little beings who were sliced from my womb, who I love more than anything in this world – I certainly don’t want to be around your screaming children, either.
If all parents responded to screaming children the same in restaurants, this wouldn’t even be an issue. But they don’t. This is a debate that people will probably never agree on. Flynn has the right to ban children from his restaurant and customers have the right to not spend money there if they think he’s an asshole for doing so. It seems like there are enough people who want a kid-free dining experience to make this a worthwhile business choice.
Now if we could only do something about all of those annoying adults. I’d gladly patronize a place that banned loud cellphone conversations or constant table texting. Can someone get on that, please?